Question about using cherry wood...

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by oldhickory, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. oldhickory

    oldhickory Newbie

    Hey all,

         I just used cherry wood (for the first time) on some chicken breasts.  I let them smoke for 2 hours at about 120 degrees.  When I came back to transfer em' to the grill to finish em' off I noticed that no smoke was coming out of the chimney.  As well, when I went to clean out the ashes from the smoke box the chips were almost all intact.. and I questioned if they even smoked at all, but when the chicken was done, it had a unique flavor.... not necessarily a smoky flavor.. but rather something that was sweet and robust at the same time, and very good.  But at this point I question if it is normal that cherry wood doesn't give off smoke? Does cherry need to be at a higher temp to start smoking?  Also, I let the chips soak for about 2 hours prior to using them.  Thoughts?
  2. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    I've used cherry wood successfully in my LP smoker.

    The 120° is probably too low to cook let alone produce enough heat to burn the wood so it can produce smoke.  Wood starts to heat up at about 212° this point, it may start to smolder and produce smoke.

    I'm not sure about the taste that you had, but it's probably not a smoke flavor.

    Don't sweat it though.  Next time get your smoker to about 250-275° for chicken and throw the chips on and you'll be rolling the TBS just fine.
  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you "cooked" chicken for 2 hours at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and then ate it you'll be really lucky if you're not sick as a dog later. Temps from 40F to 140F= prime breeding for bacteria, hope you blackened those breasts real well on the grill, or that your 120F was a typo.
  4. oldhickory

    oldhickory Newbie

    Hey Indie - I'll let it get hotter next time but I daresay that when I use mesquite, it starts smoking at around 100 degrees and I thought it would be the same for cherry.

    And Cliff - yes I blizted em' good on the grill, the 120 is the temp I used in the smoker.

    thanks for the feedback  
  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    OldHickory welcome to SMF glad you decided to join us. I think that you would actually find that different types of wood would have different temperatures they would start smoking at just as they have different flame points and BTU ratings when they do burn. You may find that you need to bump the smoker temps up or add a lit charcoal briquette or two to make some of the different types of chips smoke at the lower temps. Most of us run our smokers above 200 degrees so the difference wouldn't be noticed by us. As long as the meat is going from 40-140 in under 4 hours your method should work fine but may explain why the chips weren't actually smoking
  6. try it with out soaking the chips first.  what happens is the heat has to evaporate all the water befor it can start the chips smokin, so at that temp the element was probably barly cycling on and off so it took the two hours to get rid of the water.

  7. OldHickory - Are you talking about farenheit or celcius? You said mesquite starts smoking at 100 degrees? I had the flu recently and I had a fever of 101F. Do mean to tell me that if I held onto some of your mesquite long enough, it would start smoking? I can't believe I wasted all that money on a smoker!
  8. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    Zepi has a good point...are we talking Celsius or Fahrenheit...I think you're talking Celsius.  If that's the case, you need more air my friend.
  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  10. oldhickory

    oldhickory Newbie

    Hey Zepi - I was meaning Fahrenheit, but your point is valid and it got me thinking.  Even though the temp gauge at the top of my smoker is reading 100 degrees as the smoker is heating up, it has to be a bit hotter down at the element, and the smoke box sits on top of the element.

    And Sqwib - no, I couldnt smell smoke and the chips did not look blackened.  I'll crank it up to 225 next time and see how that does.

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